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Tuesday Tips: Author Branding 101

Author Branding 101: What is a Brand?
by Poppy Dennison

Take a trip with me, back in time to the days of cowboys and cattle. Imagine our hunky hero in his snug, faded blue jeans, riding the range with a herd of cattle. It’s dusty and hot, smelly and loud. But our cowboy has a job. He has to get the cattle to market to sell. His ranch is depending on him, as are his neighbors. They’ve all banded together to make the long journey north.

Oh no! It’s started to rain. Our cowboys are all wet. They have to take their shirts off. One of them begins to shiver. Never fear, hunky cowboy. Body heat will warm you right up. Err, wait. That’s not what I’m supposed to be blogging out. Branding. Right. Where was I?

How could the ranchers tell their cattle apart? There were hundreds, if not thousands, of cows. They all kinda look alike. Hunky cowboy couldn’t exactly say “Oh no, the one with the white speck on her nose, she’s mine. No, not that one. The other one with the white speck.” Can you imagine the chaos?

So the ranchers branded their cattle, making it easy to pick theirs out of the herd. They marked their territory, and as authors, we need to do the same thing.

If you want to be all official-like, the Business Dictionary defines branding as:

The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.

That first bit is what we need to focus on. Creating a unique name and image. Creating a consistent theme.

Dreamspinner Press has a brand. When I look at my bookcase, I can easily pick out the Dreamspinner books. They all have the Dreamspinner logo on the side.

Take a look around you. Chances are, there are multiple brands within feet of where you’re sitting. What is your computer brand? Can you pick out an Apple product at a glance? What about your favorite restaurant? If I tell you I’m looking at the golden arches, do you know exactly what I mean?

Author branding presents some unique challenges, but in order to stand out in the crowd, it’s something we all need to work on. Have you taken hunky cowboy’s advice and marked your property? Can you find what’s yours in a crowd of a hundreds, if not thousands, of others? Better yet, can your readers find you in a crowd?

That was the job of branding back in the days of hunky cowboys, and it’s what we have to do now.  So what is your brand? Do you know it? Have you put concrete thought into it? Can your readers look at your social media sites and tell what your brand is?

If you can’t answer those questions, take some time to take a look at your author life. What are your books about? What do you tend to post on Social Media sites? What do your fans love about you? What about the authors you love? What are their brands? Why do you love them? Is there something they do that you could emulate?

A sassy southern lady, Poppy Dennison developed an obsession with things that go bump in the night in her early years after a barn door flew off its hinges and nearly squashed her. Convinced it was a ghost trying to get her attention, she started looking for other strange and mysterious happenings around her. Not satisfied with what she found, Poppy has traveled to Greece, Malaysia and England to find inspiration for the burly bears and silver foxes that melt her butter. Her love of paranormal continues to flourish nearly thirty years later, and she writes steamy love stories about the very things that used to keep her up all night. If her childhood ghost is lucky, maybe one day she’ll give him his own happily ever after.

You can find out more about Poppy’s books on her website, Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

Published in Book Marketing Branding Writing Tips

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